"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

High RPM

Just another great weekend in NYC. Got to see some new and unexpected vistas last night — midtown was magical, much as hipsters might malign; rotating bars, passionate opinions, scintillating intellects and wide-open honest folk. There are so many overlapping worlds here, and joy to be had in unexpected quantity.

So now to wrap things up, some NYU-area wandering and hearty food in the East Village, and hopefully a preview/demo of my mom's big presentation. I wish I could stay and play for longer — "stay a while. stay forever" — but I'm down to my last day and nights. Strong competition for my future though, I think.

Saturday Afternoon Nerdliness

I'm in NYC, but thanks to a return to The Palace (from days of yore) I am moving slooooow. It was a good time though! Fab Dinner with Jeremy and Rachael (who have set a wedding date!) followed up by sister-dude, $8 pitchers of budweiser, Priest on the juke and me stepping up to some guy with my early-2000 street-cred. He was born in the neighborhood, so I ended up buying him a shot, but given that the place is overrun with kids these days I felt like I had to stand up.

Anyway, muddling through things, I goofed around with Pantheon a bit, and then google analytics data exporter, which I plan to start integrating for more accurate statistics of reads on my posts, etc. Fit of pride: 3,500 actual reads of this essay.

And now a txt from the momster. She's arrived. Time to get up and go!

Snowy A train

Rhetoric Gone Stale

Just as much as I find myself cringing whenever politicians use phrases like "Main Street" and "Special Interests," it's worth noting that people outside the mainstream — my own people, so to speak — have just as many sucktastic language tics.

At the moment I'm reading The Army of the Republic, which was right there next to the just-finished Chronic City in the "Hip Lit" section of the U of O bookstore when I swooped in a couple weeks ago. Downshifting from Letham's prose is rough, but Stuart Archer Cohen's subject matter — domestic terrorist/patriots vs. water privatizers — is right up my Red Dawn alley. It's a fun read so far.

However, it's reminding me that it's just as irksome to read leftist cliches about taking it to the streets and whatnot. Even the more radical dialogue can make me wince. The revival we want to see is going to take a new language, purged of these cliches and their anti-meaning. Paging Dr. Lakoff...

Although, it could be closer than we think. Maybe I'm just an old softie, but this still gets me:

And I wish to god that someone would stick all of Perot's stuff on youtube for posterity. There's a huge amount to learn from what he was able to do:

Consider The Alternatives

Apropos the previous posts about political power-grabbing and whistful public longing, and after a quick trip through the Jon Robb link farm, another thought I'd like to log for the register: in this crazy modern era of ours, in which the existing system is fumbling more than the San Diego Chargers, how long before we really start to think outside the box. Like waaaaay outside the box.

For instance, just off the top of my head:

My parents generation was willing to question pretty basic assumptions about how they were supposed to live. It didn't all work out, but it was a worthy exercise I believe. I think my generation is in an even more (potentially) radical space, thanks to these here internets. Not only can we interconnect with like-minded folks around the world with unprecedented ease, we can self-publish, self-learn, and figure What Actually Works in ways that were completely unthinkable to previous generations.

It looks bleak in some ways, but in other ways it looks pretty bright and wide open. Bears remembering.

Greatness Requires Discipline

I'm an opponent to conspiracy theories, see them as disempowering distractions which create endless rationalizations for complacency. At the same time, I am an unabashed fan of conspiring. It's my own little paradox of proactivity: don't waste your time trying to unravel a hidden coterie behind why the world is what it is, just get busy making your own.

Spent last night talking Redneck Socialism over pizza and beer with Face and The Girth. We're bandying the ideas of rolling up on California's Canada and implementing a takeover. Prosperous though our lives have become here, the golden state feels like barren ground for the revolution, and we've sometimes a great notion there's an opportunity to do something more than live what passes for the bourgeois American Dream (home ownership, retirement savings, etc) in this 21st Century. At the risk of some material comforts, we can be heroes. After all, risk is our business.

As Eric Schlosser points out, it's been liberals attempting to "look tough" who are largely responsible for the prison industrial complex. This kind of hollowness, this essentially immasculine fear of appearing weak, the willingness to do truly terrible things to literally millions of people... this is the quintessential malaise which infects the contemporary Democratic party, and prevents real reform.

Itchy Twitchy La La La

Music please.

I got a note the other day that complimented me on the quality of my "public longing" (that as opposed, I understand, to the more conventional "secret longing") and this tender sprout of an idea took root in the unfortunately rocky and barren terrain that is what passes for my subconscious these days. I don't know if it's really something to be proud of, but I think I've gone too far down the road of radical transparency to really make much of a turnaround now. Nothing short of the online equivalent to death (that is, taking the whole thing down) can really extricate me from my legacy. Or, as they say in the middle of a bum trip, the only way out is through.

So public longing it is. New tag. Warning to any groundlings out there who might see this post; it's got mature content, which is preferable to immature content IMHO (and as the man sez), but if yr parents aren't into that sort of thing, maybe trip away*.

I'm back in that Swerengen place, which I know at least some people out there get. It's a nasty cocktail of pressurized and randy, a place I get where the facts of my life stretch me out thin enough that there are a real limited number of things that'll make me feel good, and the first one on my mind is getting epically laid, but of course this is a pretty terrible position from which to go playing the scene.

Zipping Along

Man, I wish I could write and drive at the same time. Last weekend headed up to my old homeland on some unfamiliar highways, Rolling through the town of White City, Oregon — gun shop, churches, VA recovery center, two kids wearing weird mascot-type costumes dancing on the side of the road to entice drivers-by into struggling strip-mall businesses — and on up the Rogue River valley, eventually into the high national forest above Crater Lake. Got a bit dicy in the pass: snowfall, sunset, fuel level and elevation all hitting at about the same time combined with me not being 100% sure I was on the right road; made for an exciting hour or so while I wondered if I'd end up hitching my way back in conditions that reminded me of nothing more than the Donner Party.

But of course I made it with some skillful no-chains driving — light touch and steady speed is the key — and crossed into the relative civilization of the Central Oregon valley. Had a great time doing not a whole lot with some old friends there. Parlor games, kid wrangling, gumbo, scotch, lots of laughter, etc, all in a big warm house in a pretty (if slightly Stepford) "Golf Community."

I didn't even feel out of place hanging out with a bunch of common-law/married/engaged couples. Just grown ass people enjoying their time. It did hit me a little when I left though, after cruising over to the Euge and enjoying a lovely Valentines dinner with my Mom, that itchy urge to email all my old ladyfriends or fall down a bottle, or possibly both. Couldn't get to sleep in any case.

Black Butte Weekend

So this weekend I'll be jetting up to Mighty Oregon for a weekend retreat at gorgeous Black Butte ranch. As a sign of my continual resistance to maturity, the guest list:

  • Steve and Hannah
  • Chris and Meadow (and Logan)
  • Zya y Marko
  • Gina and Luke (and Elle)
  • Hope and Bond
  • and Josh

Perhaps I should be exiled to Mt. Bachelor! (to my national audience: that's a Central Oregon joke).

Anyway, after that I'll shoot all the way down to SF for a couple weeks. Need to figure out if/how I'm going to jet out to NYC while my moms is on the scene there, and also how I'm wrangling travel to/from SxSw in March. Looks like I'll be something of a road warrior again!

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